Renee Cox is a photographer and mixed media artist who for the last three decades has been a deliberate force in the landscape of contemporary American art. Where the body is concerned, particularly the black woman’s body, Cox’s gaze has remained at a focused intensity, framing her characteristic self-portraits as poignant arguments on race, desire, religion, feminism and visual and cultural aesthetics. Cox’s work often critiques the art historical canon while remaining more directly aimed at imagining new consciousnesses. Born in Jamaica before relocating early to New York, Cox studied film at Syracuse University, photography at SVA and participated in the Whitney Independent Study program in 1992. Later, she would move to Paris where she found accomplishment as a fashion photographer, shooting for several high-profile fashion magazines across the years. Her work has been featured at the Perez Art Museum Miami (2014), The Studio Museum in Harlem (2012), the Spelman Museum of Fine Art (2013), the Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art (2008), the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke (2006), as a part of the Jamaican Biennale (2006), the Brooklyn Museum (2001), the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Boston (1996), and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1993), among others. Cox resides in New York.
Dario Calmese is an artist, urbanist, director and brand consultant currently based in New York City. Classically trained in the performing arts, he uses his knowledge of movement, gesture, and psychology to create complex characters and narratives that explore history, race, class, and what it means to be human. In 2020 Calmese made history as the first Black photographer to shoot a cover for Vanity Fair with his portrait of Oscar-winning actress, Viola Davis. 2020 also saw the launch of his widely-acclaimed podcast, The Institute of Black Imagination. For more than 15 years, Calmese performed on stages both domestically and internationally, including a short stint on the soap opera, All My Children. His art works have been exhibited at the Aperture galleries in New York, The Charles H. Wright Museum in Detroit, the National Museum of Turkmenistan (as Artist Ambassador for the U.S. State Department), and are a part of the JP Morgan Chase Collection. His performance artworks have been shown at the Detroit Institute of Art and Symphony Space and Fridman Gallery in New York City. His writing has been featured in The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, and the Business of Fashion. He regularly contributes photography to magazines such as The New York Times, Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Esquire, among others.